This is a brief intermission Chapter introducing Gilda and Trixie as characters to the main story. They will be important in the future. They will not be quite antagonists, but because of their feelings towards various characters will cause struggle.

As the six focuses for our story (but not the mane characters), approached the security check-point for the miniature and magic augmented mass driver built into the side of the mountains of Canterlot, they dragged out their passports and…

you know what, screw this, I am not going to describe in intricate detail the sciences involved in flinging masses into space towards a six-tiered space station in geosynchronous orbit and spinning in such a way that it has artificial gravity. I will not go into intricate detail the pod they sat in, nor the foam that the six ponies and one baby dragon floated in, negating much of the powerful g forces that would have otherwise killed them, or at least crushed them. I will certainly not reveal any scientific details that could be otherwise found in the masterpieces of The Mote in God’s Eye, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress or any of Ben Bova’s Grand Tour series. Honestly, you should be reading these instead of this drivel. However, you didn’t come here for the details that better written science fiction would offer, you came for the mediocre fan fiction. I am happy to provide that.

Gilda found herself drifting once Rainbow Dash rejected her. No, because Pinkie got between them. She didn’t know what to do. She wanted to leave. Her family, however, had long ago cut ties with the Griffin Eyries and Mountain Keeps in a rather permanent and violent manner. Where could she go? A few weeks flying around and a few weeks not knowing what to do. At first, she found it invigorating, the open air and no dweebs to bother her… but then the loneliness set in. She would never admit it, but Gilda had been buoyed by the thought that there were friends out their for her. Well, friend. Honestly, Dash was all she had needed.

It wasn’t that romantic love, it was that dependent love that only misanthropes could have for one another. They could talk, really talk, to each other. Dash was like her, at least back then, unable to properly communicate to inferiors. Even now, even at the last day, if she had heard that Dash was trying for the Wonderbolts, she would have gone in a second. She was even at the young flier’s competition, though in the audience. Griffins were not allowed in a pegasus competition.

The sting was still very fresh then, and she had not wanted to reveal herself at all. She cursed herself for the emotional weakness she perceived and continued her journey. Finally, she found herself back in Canterlot.  She found herself in front of a recruiters station. Ponies needed written permission to join, if they weren’t already of the guard ponies. Griffons didn’t. In fact, rumor was that there was a Griffin scouting brigade forming… Then she saw the poster.

“See the Universe! Escape your troubles! Forget what sorrows you in the Empire of Man’s Xeno-Military forces!”

Forget what sorrows you… was she sad that she couldn’t face Rainbow Dash? That her only friend had rejected her? That she was alone? That… NO! No more thoughts! She was going to do this! She’d come back and show Rainbow Dash how awesome she was! What could Pinkie Pie do that would compare to her stories of far away lands and the adventures she would have? Gilda signed up.

The recruitment office was bland and colorless. It was light blue and forgettable white. On the walls were pictures of heroism finely pictured and likely staged. Inspirational quotes were interspersed between ever set of two or three pictures. Lastly, the recruiter was in a cheap suit and, to Gilda’s nostrils, cheap cologne. Humans shouldn’t bother with it, unless it’s the good stuff. Gilda started offended. “You sure? Most Ponies are rather squeamish around blood.”

“Do I look like I’m a herbivore? I’m a griffin.”

“What I mean is, can you kill?”

“Way before you biped-dweebs showed up us Griffins ATE ponies. You think they those punk guards for show?”

“I mean, there’s a lot of killing to do. You’re going into the Xeno-marines.”

Gilda ripped him from his cheap suit and screamed at his face until he went blind.

Boot-camp was a blur to her. She found herself again on the battlefield. She had just ripped off the head of a Prayl Rebel soldier. What did they see in independence? The Empire had a strict policy of ‘Don’t make us come over there, and pay your taxes.’ Either way, rebellion was not tolerated and it was paid for in blood. As much as could be taken tastefully.

Gilda found herself looking at the lifeless head and screamed again. Prayl’s hair had some sort of reflective, oil based slick. The light caught it in such a way… Despite the giant canine buck teeth and the four multifaceted eyes and the claws and six arms… she could only see Rainbow Dash. She sat down in the middle of the battle and cried. She was so lonely. A Prayl jumped out of a fox hole to try to spike her with some makeshift spear.

Trained Empire of Man marines, Xeno or otherwise, do not get caught by surprise. The Prayl was dispatched. Gilda took one look at the dead body and said, screw it. When the battle was over she put in paperwork to be transferred from the front lines. Every Corvette class ship or bigger had a marine contingent aboard, small of course. Star Destroyers had a full battalion, but were much more active.

She thought it cruelty when a pony captain of a Dreadnought who was looking for an experienced Equestrian to lead her contingent chose her. Gilda was promoted from Leftenant to Commander and sent though an accelerated training course. She read up on the commander, about her ambition. What trepidation she felt left her when she heard her for the first time.

“Trixie welcomes you, Commander Gilda. With you at my side Trixie’s rise to power will not be hindered by some ambitious and foolish marine. Trixie promise victory, if you promise Trixie loyalty. Whatever you want, if it is in Trixie’s power, Trixie will give it you.”

This wasn’t what Gilda expected. She thought deeply about it. “I want Rainbow Dash. She was my only friend, my best friend.” Gilda scratched at the gun-metal floors. “Trixie, if you can give me a second shot to earn her friendship, I’ll go through fire and fury for you!”

Three months later, Gilda and Trixie storm the Prayl capital ship Tre-bol’oth. Trixie cast great magicks and arcane fire. Gilda follows close behind, and then leads the charge. She loses one of her arms, but slays the last living great Prayl Admiral, Rayle’mar the Savage. Trixie took command from the bridge and brought it to the Fury of Sol, the capital ship of Third Empire fleet. The prize money bought Gilda the best mechanical arm available. The accolades gave her great respect and Trixie got promoted to Commodore, and three ships, all Dreadnoughts to call a fleet.

Trixie smiled at her new crew, and at Gilda. “Soon, we’ll rise to the top. Just follow Trixie, and Trixie will care for you.” Gilda remembered Trixie’s promise. It strengthened her, and privately, Gilda wondered if this was solving her problem, or just continuing to run away.